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GUERNICA For Concert Band by JEAN-FRANÇOIS MICHEL (Switzerland, 1957)

[#43] May 18, 2020

2015 | Wind Orchestra | Grade 6 | 15’- 20’ | Tone poem

Swiss composer Jean-François Michel

Guernica by Swiss composer Jean-François Michel is our Composition of the Week.

Written in 2015, Guernica was the compulsory piece in the 2016 Swiss National Music Festival for the highest Concert Band’s category. It uses a standard instrumentation and has a duration of about 16 minutes.

“For his new work, Jean-François Michel has reevoked the name of Guernica as a recurring and disturbing reminder of an unending nightmare in perpetual motion. He describes it in following terms:

A short introduction in “chamber music” style illustrates the peaceful daily life of a provincial city, followed by the veiled noise of the 57 enemy bombers that grows inordinately prior to the explosions with the city bursting into flames under the bombs. The terrible emptiness and silence that reflects the unjustified deaths of the innocent victims is followed by an emerging mix of feelings from revolt and utter helplessness to a final overwhelming sense of sadness. The reappearance of short fanfares serves to introduce a final dedication to hope and serenity merged in an ode to peace on the theme of “Dona nobis pacem” by J.S. Bach.”

Program notes by Editions Bim.

Jean-François Michel was born in Switzerland in 1957. After studies at the Fribourg Conservatoire he was Principal Trumpet of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra (Germany) where he remained until 1986, when he was appointed professor at his former school.

His works are being performed and recorded worldwide with great success and, gradually, composing is becoming his major activity.


More infos on Jean-François Michel


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